As you all probably could guess from my previous post of the media day, I loved Disney’s The Jungle Book directed Jon Favreau. He is the visionary director that helped begin the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man back in 2008, in case you didn’t know. This time he joins Disney to translate the animated classic The Jungle Book from traditional animation into something new and exciting. To say that this is a live action interpretation would not be entirely accurate. There are some actual sets and the character of Mowgli (played by Neel Sethi) is real, but every animal is a digital creation, as is most of the environment.
The story, for those who have not seen or read any of the many already existing interpretations is originally from the classic book titled The Jungle Book, a collection of stories written by author Rudyard Kipling. Though each interpretation has its own take on the stories, the basic idea is that a young boy, Mowgli, was abandoned in the jungle as a child. He is then saved by a panther named Bagheera who brings Mowgli to a pack wolves who raise Mowgli as their own. Mowgli then grows up with the mentality that the jungle is his home and wolves his family. Eventually a Bengal tiger, Shere Khan, learns of Mowgli and begins hunting the child. Mowgli must leave the jungle so he and Bagheera embark on a series of adventures. In many instances, Mowgli is able to communicate with these animals vocally.
For those that have seen The Jungle Book, the story may be nothing new so the presentation will be the highlight. Under the guidance of Jon Favreau, Weta Workshop and Moving Picture Company (the only two visual effects studios involved) Disney brings the most photorealistic computer graphics ever seen in a motion picture. That realistic footage creates the most awe-inspiring cinematography I’ve ever seen in my career in the film industry. The photorealism provides a more intense and emotional viewing experience. For moments the audience will be lost in the film and forget that this poor child is not actually being chased by a tiger. And of course no animals were harmed in the making of this film because there are no real animals. I know you may have trouble believing some of these animals are not real.
Mowgli is the only human live action star we actually see on screen. Neel Sethi amazingly brings Mowgli to life as a boy dealing with his being human and being raised by the jungle; nature versus nurture. The panther Bagheera is voiced by academy award winner Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Iron Man 3). Baloo the Bear is Golden Globe winner Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, Garfield). The Bengal Tiger Shere Khan is played with great menace by Golden Globe winner Idris Elba (Thor, Luther). Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars Episode VII, 12 Years a Slave) has powerful emotional moments as she brings to life Raksha, Mowgli’s wolf mother. Scarlett Johansson (Marvel’s The Avengers, Lucy) is brief but memorable as the python Kaa. Academy award winner Christopher Walken (Deer Hunter, Hairspray) calls upon his wonky personality to provide a truly entertaining King Louie.
Imagine a film so breathtaking that allows for a person to be swept up in an adventure where the fun, emotion, and danger feels so shockingly real. This 2016 interpretation of Disney’s The Jungle Book may be considered a “remake,” but it really feels like a rediscovery of a film with the themes of Nature vs. Nurture and unconventional friendships and families becoming more prevalent.
The visual effects of Disney’s The Jungle Book also give the added benefit of being able to convey the most effective use of 3D seen on screen to date. That statement does come with a caveat. Because of how this film was created, there are only so many theaters that can show the film in its intended Dolby Vision 3D Laser Projection format. I highly recommend finding the nearest theater that can play this format. It will be well worth the price and effort. If you’re in the Los Angeles Area, RUN don’t walk to the El Capitan in Hollywood, CA, as that is one incredible theater that offers Dolby Extended Dynamic Range Laser Projection.
THE JUNGLE BOOK is in theatres everywhere in 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D NOW!
For more info visit the official THE JUNGLE BOOK website here: http://movies.disney.com/the-jungle-book-2016